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Effects of Ideal Body Images--Translatable Across Gender and Culture?
Unformatted Document Text:  4 casual, and short-term effects examined in this experimental study may last long in real life. In contrast to the studies on ideal models in other genres, research on advertising images has its own characteristics. In ads, there are often linkages between ideal models and advertised products or services. Viewers are often convinced that consumption of the products with these models in them is helpful to achieve the degree of beauty portrayed by ads. In line with this argument, Myers and Biocca (1992) found that compared to ideal body programming, ideal body commercials were less likely to increase body size estimations and subjects’ depression levels, although other negative effects existed. One of the contributions of their study may be that it reminds us that advertising effect is more subtle and complicated than some media programming. The present study is designed to confirm the unintended effects of ideal models in ads. The other goal of this study is to test the effects of cross-sex comparison. Most studies focused on same-sex comparison, especially among females. Little is known about cross-sex comparisons. The emphasis on same-sex studies may derive from the original social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954), which stated that individuals prefer to compare themselves with similar others. What are unclear in that proposition are the characteristics that can be used to determine the degree of similarity when facing a comparison target. Females and males are different in gender, but it is possible that they are similar in age, social status, education degree, family, and so on. It is important to pay attention to cross-sex comparison because beautiful models are not only viewed by their same-sex audience, but also viewed by the other sex audience. Advertisers are good at using well-crafted images to appeal to their potential consumers. During the past several

Authors: Xue, Fei., Zhou, Shuhua. and Zhou, Peiqin.
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casual, and short-term effects examined in this experimental study may last long in real
life.
In contrast to the studies on ideal models in other genres, research on advertising
images has its own characteristics. In ads, there are often linkages between ideal models
and advertised products or services. Viewers are often convinced that consumption of the
products with these models in them is helpful to achieve the degree of beauty portrayed
by ads. In line with this argument, Myers and Biocca (1992) found that compared to
ideal body programming, ideal body commercials were less likely to increase body size
estimations and subjects’ depression levels, although other negative effects existed. One
of the contributions of their study may be that it reminds us that advertising effect is more
subtle and complicated than some media programming. The present study is designed to
confirm the unintended effects of ideal models in ads.
The other goal of this study is to test the effects of cross-sex comparison. Most
studies focused on same-sex comparison, especially among females. Little is known
about cross-sex comparisons. The emphasis on same-sex studies may derive from the
original social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954), which stated that individuals prefer
to compare themselves with similar others. What are unclear in that proposition are the
characteristics that can be used to determine the degree of similarity when facing a
comparison target. Females and males are different in gender, but it is possible that they
are similar in age, social status, education degree, family, and so on. It is important to pay
attention to cross-sex comparison because beautiful models are not only viewed by their
same-sex audience, but also viewed by the other sex audience. Advertisers are good at
using well-crafted images to appeal to their potential consumers. During the past several


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